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Küng to leave Tour de France early for Worlds time trial

LAGOA ALGARVE PORTUGAL FEBRUARY 22 Stefan Kung of FSwitzerland and Team Groupama FDJ during the 45th Volta ao Algarve Stage 3 a 203km Individual Time Trial stage from Lagoa to Lagoa ITT VA VAlgarve2019 on February 22 2019 in Lagoa Algarve Portugal Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stefan Küng is due to be a key domestique for Thibaut Pinot on Groupama-FDJ's team for the Tour de France at the end of August, but he will not be at the Frenchman's side for the key final week in the Alps as he will head home to Switzerland to compete at the UCI Road World Championships in Aigle. 

With the elite men's invididual time trial taking place on the same day as the final stage of the Tour in Paris, Küng opted for Worlds.

"You can't miss a World Championships at home," Küng told Blick.ch, saying the conflict with the Tour de France was an annoying conundrum. "I cannot understand why the race could not be postponed from Sunday to Wednesday."

"It is always a dream to turn onto the Champs-Elysées after three weeks on Sunday," Küng said. "This will not happen this time – not even if the World Championship time trial was postponed to Wednesday. Either way, I have to leave a week in advance. The move would have been a relief – then I could have helped my team longer."

The UCI and race organisers announced last month the schedule would be unchanged even as the rescheduled Tour de France overlapped with the opening day of racing. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) and his teammates Primoz Roglic and Wout van Aert have already decided they will not be present at the Worlds time trial.

Having recently taken another national title in the time trial, putting 54 seconds into Silvan Dillier over the 30km course, Küng has gotten back to racing well ahead many of his fellow WorldTour professionals and admitted, "After four months of no racing, I was much more nervous than usual".